I’m Not Scared explores rational and irrational fears, and how to conquer them.
I’m Not Scared, by Niccolo Ammaniti explores the many facets of our fears; both rational and irrational. It is set in the south of Italy during the Anni di Piombo (the years of lead), and the story is a mirror for the inequality and disharmony between the north and the south. Michele Amitrano, a southern boy, stumbles upon a secret prison holding Fillipo, a northern boy of his own age who has been kidnapped. Through the use of dreams and imagination to shed light on the real world, and with Michele’s strong sense of right and wrong, we see him overcome his fears. The author’s choice of an omniscient narrator also allows him to contain and write about a terrifying story without it being intolerable to the reader.
Michele has an extremely well developed sense of right and wrong; furthermore, he is empathetic, which is unexpected at his young age, and particularly in his environment. In Michele’s home town, the adults interpret these traits as “disobedient and sissy”. These qualities are portrayed particularly strongly close to the conclusion of the book, when Pino makes Michele swear on his head that he will not return to see Fillipo, telling him, “If you go back there, they will shoot him, and it will be your fault”. However, although Michele experiences genuine fear at the consequences of returning to Fillipo (fears for both himself nd Filipo), and in so doing breaking his oath, he doesn’t allow his fear to override his moral convictions, in this case that he has to fulfil his promise to Fillipo to return to him. Through this particular passage, Ammaniti exhibits how, with such a strong sense of right and wrong, Michele can conquer the totally rational fear of the consequences of his actions.
Ammaniti uses omniscient narration by Michele to reiterate that despite the unfortunate series of events that Michele is experiencing, he does live to tell the tale; he conquers his fears. The dual authorial voice of Michele as a child and as an adult, further acts to make the account more believable and brings extra credibility to the story, verifying young Michele’s account as if to convince the reader that this isn’t just another imaginative story by a little kid. “I still don’t know how [Barbara] put up with us” this passage, said from the perspective of the adult Michele, shows us that this omniscient narration also allows for the opinion and hindsight of the narrator, which allows us to understand the narrator better.
Ammaniti uses Michele’s dreams and imagination to give us a deeper insight into how Michele attempts to…